Toughie 2511 – Big Dave's Crossword Blog
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Toughie 2511

Toughie No 2511 by Hudson

Hints and tips by Gazza

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BD Rating – Difficulty **Enjoyment ***

There’s a lot of GK in this puzzle but most of it is fairly accessible (though I repeat what I said last week about some clues offering more difficulties for overseas solvers).

Hudson sometimes gives us a Nina – I can’t find one here so do tell us if you can (there’s no prize just heaps of glory).

I found out only last Wednesday that readers of my blogs using some devices could not see the text visible when letting the cursor hover over a picture. Following a suggestion from LetterBoxRoy I’ve changed the way I set up the text, so please let me know if you cannot see it now (NB not all pictures have any associated text, but this week most do).

Thanks to Hudson.

Please leave a comment telling us how you fared and what you thought of it.

Across Clues

1a First episodes of Game of Thrones heralded increased copying of Middle Age style (6)
GOTHIC: initial letters of six words in the clue.
Gothic architecture (Cologne cathedral)

5a Here’s Juno with Sword (and not a large number — about 500) (8)
NORMANDY: stick together a conjunction meaning ‘and not’ and a word meaning a large number or numerous containing the Roman number for 500. If the reference to Juno and Sword isn’t clear look here.

9a/11a After century scored by lunch, caught Somerset’s opener in late game (10,8)
MORNINGTON CRESCENT: this is a daft but funny game regularly played on the radio programme “I’m sorry I haven’t a clue” where the aim is to reach this station on the London Underground. The first word when split 7,3 could mean a century scored by lunch – now add the cricket abbreviation for caught and an adjective meaning late or up-to-the-minute containing the opening letter of Somerset.

10a Communist leader of the highest quality stripped of all power (4)
TITO: start with an adjective (3-3) meaning ‘of the highest quality’ and remove both occurrences of the abbreviation for power.
Josip Broz (Tito)

11a See 9 Across

12a Shocked exclamation when crashing into 25 cycling? (6)
AGHAST: insert an exclamation of surprise or triumph into the answer to 25a after its letters have been cycled.

13a Jim Bob maybe discovered singer (4)
ALTO: Jim Bob was the name of one of the family featured in a US TV series of the 1970s. Remove the outer letters of the family name.

15a Press meets Charlie boy in warship (4-4)
IRON-CLAD: string together a verb to press, the letter represented by Charlie in the Nato Phonetic Alphabet and a synonym for boy.

18a Sailor and German soldier could be all over the place (8)
ABUNDANT: charade of one of the abbreviations for a sailor, the German word for ‘and’ and our usual 6-legged soldier.

19a Backspin shots? (4)
NIPS: split the first word 4,4 and do as it now says.

21a Endless test featuring four bits of useless information (6)
TRIVIA: remove the final letter from a test or experiment and insert the Roman number four.

23a Elderly earl in gunroom holstering a Colt? (8)
YEARLING: hidden in the clue.

25a One hoping for a fast buck (or deer) (4)
STAG: double definition, the first a speculator applying for shares in a new issue on the Stock Market with the intention of selling them immediately to make a quick profit.

26a Ace Doctor Sharples approach: a shot in the arm? (10)
ADRENALINE: paste together the abbreviation for ace in card games, one of the abbreviations for doctor, the forename of Soap character Sharples and a synonym for approach or tactic.
Ena Sharples

27a Former royal diva accepting charity (8)
ADELAIDE: the name of the wife of William IV is constructed by inserting a word for charity or assistance into the name of an English singing star. Here’s a heart-warming clip of the latter’s surprise appearance amongst a number of tribute acts of herself (thanks to Mr K for first bringing the clip to my attention).

28a Irritable, offensive, cold, hungry, gutted (6)
TETCHY: concatenate the name of an offensive by the Vietcong during the Vietnam war, the abbreviation for cold and the outer letters of hungry.

Down Clues

2d Old, gloomy hum (5)
ODOUR: the abbreviation for old and an adjective meaning gloomy or stern.

3d Easily passes from father to son (5,4)
HANDS DOWN: double definition, the first a phrase meaning easily (like a jockey winning without having to try very hard).

4d Run 20 out (6)
CANTER: an anagram (out) of 20d gives us a type of run much favoured by Senf.

5d Turning on utter rubbish featuring dancing on set is half right? (3,8,4)
NOT STRICTLY TRUE: reverse ON, add an anagram (rubbish) of UTTER and insert the short name of a dancing programme seen on your TV set. Hudson’s view of the programme appears to coincide with mine!

6d Mad baronet gathering 1,000 mercenaries? (4-1-3)
RENT-A-MOB: an anagram (mad) of BARONET contains the Roman numeral for 1,000.

7d American longing for letter (5)
AITCH: one of the abbreviations for American followed by a longing.

8d Go out with ’60s heart-throb Terence — this will mark the occasion (4-5)
DATE-STAMP: a verb to go out with and the surname of actor Terence (who once shared a flat with Michael Caine – not a lot of people know that!).
Terence Stamp

14d Released mounted troops to protect British monarch (9)
LIBERATED: reverse (mounted) a word for a detachment of troops and insert an abbreviation for British and the regnal cipher of our Queen.

16d How Liberace found his keys during a power cut? (9)
CANDLELIT: cryptic definition based on the name of an album by Liberace (not one I’d heard of). Thanks to Wahoo for pointing out that the clue probably relates to his always having a lit candelabrum on his piano.

17d Mother Teresa evacuated hospital — air disturbed Dutch courtesan (4,4)
MATA HARI: weld together an affectionate word for mother, the outer letters of Teresa, the map abbreviation for hospital and an anagram (disturbed) of AIR.
Mata Hari

20d Multiple tickets landing English composer in court (6)
CARNET: insert the name of the composer of ‘Rule Britannia’ into the abbreviation for court. I only knew this as a French word having used it to buy books of tickets on the Paris Metro.

22d The Night Watch? Van Dijk? Not right! (5)
VIGIL: remove an abbreviation for right from the forename of Mr Van Dijk, the Dutch footballer who plays for Liverpool.
Rembrandt's 'The Night Watch'

24d Plugging Isopon in the hole, about halfway round (5)
NINTH: a hidden word found halfway through words 2-5 of the clue could identify the approximate halfway point in a round of golf.

I have 5a, 10a and 5d on my podium. Which clue(s) succeeded best for you?


39 comments on “Toughie 2511

  1. A lovely, clever, amusing, and brilliant crossword – so it wasn’t as advertised on the tin but it left me a very happy solver, and that’ll do me today. I marked so many clues I really liked, it might be easier to list the few I didn’t

    Thanks to Hudson and to Gazza

    PS: if you’ve also solved today’s FT, you’ll have spotted the Game of the Day

    1. I agree totally with CS at #1, this one really was to my liking. 10a and 20d were two of my favourites, but I am just sticking a pin in to select them. Quite superb.

      Many thanks to Hudson for the challenge and to Gazza.

  2. I thought this was brilliant! Bravo, Hudson.

    But I knew all the GK … maybe a few difficulties for our foreign correspondents?

    ps. Gazza, using an iPad, there is no cursor so it is not possible to hover. By pressing down on the pictures the text that appears when you hover using a PC appears duplicated at the top of a list of iPad options. (Save image, Copy image etc)

  3. I am a big Hudson fan and again really enjoyed this offering. Ok it wasn’t your Friday Elgar but that’s what I love about his offerings. All doable with some lateral thinking. Loved 9a and 11a even though I had no idea to the game part of it.
    Many thanks to Hudson and Gazza. Enjoyed the Adele video

  4. Great fun and not too tough. Hard to pick a favourite as frankly I could tick all of them but I will go for the crazy radio game for the structure the word play and the cricket!

    Gazza, I thought that 16d was just a reference to the candelabra that Liberace always seemed to have on his piano?

    Thanks to Hudson for such a brilliant puzzle and to Gazza.

    1. You’re probably right, Wahoo. I don’t remember ever having seen him play so I didn’t know about the candelabra – I suppose that’s why he called his album ‘By candlelight’.

  5. Good fun but tricky enough for a Toughie. Is Hudson shaping up as a possible successor to dear departed Petitjean? The combination of 5d with 9/11a held me up in the NW. The latter is quite a tour de force, especially the century scored by lunch. I also marked 28a [I like slightly wacky clues] and 22d [once the Van Dijk penny dropped]. Mrs H had to be drafted in for her knowledge of 60’s heartthrobs and 70s telly.
    Couldn’t watch the clip this time Gazza – that awful shouty bloke is a compulsory switch off for me. And fancy not knowing the details of Liberace’s oevre.
    Thanks for the Blog – and thanks of course to Hudson for the puzzle.

  6. Fully agree with CS that this was a delight with great clues throughout. Found it a steady solve with no real difficulty until I stalled with 2d & 9/11a remaining. Really annoyed at myself for yielding to impatience/temptation & logging on to the puzzles website to reveal the 2d/9a checker & got them instantly. Don’t know why but that sort of hum never occurs to me. Other than my 5a bung in (& really ought to have figured that one too) my parsings also agreed with Gazza so that’s always a bonus. Difficult to pick out a favourite but (sorry Kath) it’s a dead heat between the 23a lurker & 26a for making me remember the wonderful Violet Carson. Also nice to see TS figuring in 8d – the sword sequence with Bathsheba in Schlesinger’s Far From The Madding Crowd is one of my favourites with great cinematography by the wonderful Nic Roeg who went on to become a truly great filmmaker
    Thanks Hudson & Gazza

    1. And what a cast: Christie, Finch, Bates, and Stamp. Did I get it right? (I promise I haven’t googled to double-check.)

      1. You did. The remake from a few years back is also very good with Carey Mulligan & Michael Sheen as Boldwood – You Tube them both singing Let No Man Steal Your Thyme.

      2. I remember the book being on our list for the GCE syllabus. When the film came out, I refused point blank to go to the cinema to see it – I had a very fixed idea in my head by then as to what the characters looked like and none of the cast vaguely resembled the images in my mind!

    2. I understand that Schlesinger did not want Terence Stamp for Sergeant Troy but had him foisted on him by the studio. He had another actor in mind. Does anyone know who that was?

  7. I’m afraid all the non-general knowledge references (twelve!) spoiled my enjoyment of this puzzle, because I don’t know any of it
    19a, while perfectly gettable, relies on an unindicated word split – I thought that was off limits?
    Thanks to Hudson and Gazza

  8. Found this one to be a little GK heavy – never heard of the Dutchman for one thing. Maybe it’s the sort of puzzle that’s only enjoyable if you happen to know all the references involved? On the plus side for me, the Liberace answer was one of the first to go in as was the reminder of Terence Stamp. Courtesy of a friend who was a cameraman, I spent a day on set with him some years ago and have to say he came across as being something of a ‘diva’.
    My favourite was probably the hidden at 23a.

    Thanks to Hudson and also to Gazza who obviously didn’t have a mum who was obsessed by Liberace!

      1. You were lucky there. Mine was into the candlelit one too. And then there was Russ Conway, who had a finger missing and nobody noticed.

  9. I agree with Cryptic Sue @ #1 just the right level for me, 9 & 11 across was new to me in a sense as I had never heard of the game, nor the former Royal in 27 across, my thanks to Hudson and Gazza

  10. I agree: just brilliant but VERY tough (if not virtually inaccessible) for this old American not ‘au courant” with some UK radio/TV histories (and please explain how ‘Morning + ton’ = ‘century scored by lunch’), but I did ‘finish’ the puzzle last night, joyously, after invoking my 5 electronic letters. As others have indicated, it would be a shot in the dark to pick my favourites, but I did very much like 5, 10, 23, 26, & 27a. I immediately latched onto ‘candlelit’ because of the candelabrum on the piano and remembered T.S. mostly because of Antonioni’s Blow-Up. (Though now that Huntsman reminds me, Stamp was quite memorable in FFTMC.) Wasn’t this a gas, everyone? Thanks to Gazza for help in the hints, and to Hudson for the joy.

    1. In cricket the batsman has scored a hundred in the morning before the lunch break as RD often has no doubt.

    2. Robert you may be mis-remembering. Blow-Up was David Hemmings, who was of course another sixties heart-throb.

      Oh, and I enjoyed the puzzle a lot.

      1. Oh, you are so right. My memory failed me, didn’t it? Stamp was Billy Budd, wasn’t he? So sorry.

    3. It was David Hemmings, not Terence Stamp, in Blow-Up. My apologies, everyone. I hate it when I do that!

  11. I struggled with some clues and now much happier after Gazza’s explanations. The lurkers were for me well hidden and it was easy to go off course. I wanted to put in Iron Duke except it did not fit and had to wait to solve 16d to see whether it was tetchy or touchy (Never heard of the Viet Cong offensive). I had seen a little of the Waltons in the 70’s but definitely would never be able to parse this one. I need to research why odour is hum. Managed to guess 9a/11a only because I live in London but never would have known it was a game (as a foreigner the only one that was a GK issue). All in all I totally agree with crypticsue, 5* there were so many excellent clues littered throughout with 10a being my favourite. Thx Gazza and Hudson.

  12. An enjoyable solve. I seem to be doing better with the Toughie these days than I used to. No way do I finish them all but I solve a greater percentage of each one. This one from Hudson was a delight and I managed to tease out all answers apart from two. Poor Mrs. C. never understood the game at 9a and 11a but my daughter and I relished it. 20a was a stumbling block because the clue in the dead wood version gave the last word as “coun”. I spent ages in Mr G. Trying to make sense of it. Rather a risky definition in the Urban Dictionary.

    Grateful thanks to Hudson and also to Gazza for the hints.

  13. We loved this puzzle and completed it while driving down the M5 from Pershore to Weston Super Mare. **/**** 23A & 26A were our favourites.

  14. Two great puzzles in a row and a Beam to look forward to tomorrow. I enjoyed today’s offering from Hudson but question if Mornington Crescent can be called a game. A nonsense maybe or a triviality but never a game. However Let the setter set. Let the editor edit. Thanks to Gazza and thanks to Hudson

    1. Miffypops, Mornington Crescent is a game that exists only in the minds of those who play it. It is not, in the strictest sense, a game that can be played rationally such as Monopoly or chess. It is more ethereal than that.
      And utterly bonkers, 🤪

      1. As is ‘I’m sorry I haven’t a clue’ Outdated, not funny and ready for the bin. In my opinion. Samantha however is out of this world

  15. This was such fun. My favourite Toughie in a long while. Clues like 9 and 11a which were my last in, must have been difficult for our overseas friends and I’m not in the least repentant!

  16. Several places here where we had to see what we could make from the wordplay and then enlist Mr Google for confirmation. Liverpool football players for example.
    Thanks Hudson and Gazza.

  17. Absolutely loved it.
    Spent a bit of time deciding if 1000 in 6d was a K, a M or a G for grand and finally managed to make a phrase that made sense.
    The rest went very smoothly.
    Thanks to Hudson and to Gazza.

  18. Thank you to Hudson for so many fun clues, and Gazza for enabling those of us not up to completing the crossword ourselves to share in them.

    I loved the century scored by lunch and Jim-Bob discovered (didn’t he have a hyphen?). I hadn’t heard of the footballer in 22d, and didn’t manage to solve it, but it’s so clever and might be my favourite.

  19. I knew there was something amiss with ‘Jim Bob’ for me but couldn’t quite come up with JOHN BOY, which is what Richard Thomas was called in The Waltons. It was David Harper who was called Jim-Bob in the show. And do forgive me, all of you, for my memory-pfft: I mistakenly remembered Terence Stamp as being in Blow-Up, when in fact it was David Hemmings!! The mind does play tricks on one. Now, I am thinking of Stamp as Billy Budd, in that 1962 film directed by Peter Ustinov. And of course in many other roles.

  20. Enjoyable, but the GK perhaps a bit tough on those of less than a certain age?
    Mind you, after struggling for some time, with what I thought was the Dutch spelling of Van Dyck, I’m glad there wasn’t a lot of contemporary GK!

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